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What makes a Texas parent unfit for child custody?

On Behalf of | Nov 9, 2023 | Child Custody |

When you file for divorce as a Texas parent, you and your ex must achieve an agreement regarding child-related issues, including where your kids will live and whether you will both have authority to make decisions on their behalf. Most kids are resilient and adaptable. They can cope with divorce and move on in life without much problem if they have the love and support of their parents. Coping might be more difficult, however, if there are extenuating issues, such as evidence that your ex is unfit for child custody. 

You want what’s best for your children, and so does the court. In most cases, family court judges believe it serves children’s best interests when they maintain active relationships with both parents following a divorce. In some cases, however, this is not a good idea as it might place children at risk. You can request sole custody of your kids, but you must be prepared to show just cause. 

Issues that constitute unfitness for child custody 

Demonstrating just cause in a child custody case means that you provide evidence to show the court that the other parent’s lifestyle or behavior is a detriment to the children. If the court determines that you have a legitimate reason for requesting sole physical or legal custody of your kids, the judge overseeing your case might grant your request. Issues that create just cause include things like parental substance abuse, child abuse or neglect, abandonment, incarceration and child endangerment.  

There are also certain benign issues that might make sole custody a more logical decision in your case, rather than shared custody. For instance, if you and your ex are residing in different states, and you’ve always been the primary caretaker of your children, the court might see fit to grant you sole custody in your divorce. Another issue that might constitute unfitness for custody is a physical or mental health condition.  

Restricted child custody versus prohibited visits 

If you present evidence that demonstrates unfitness regarding your ex’s ability to parent, the court has several options. If the judge isn’t convinced, he or she might simply deny your request. The court might also determine that your ex can visit the children with supervision but cannot have custody of them. If the court believes your ex poses a serious risk to your kids, the judge might prohibit all contact with them.  

Remember that the Texas family court system keeps children’s best interests in mind when making child custody (referred to in this state as “possession and access”) decisions. If you have a legitimate reason for requesting sole custody of your children and evidence to show that your ex is an unfit parent, you may bring the matter before the court.